BCMF has recently helped facilitate the treatment of our first patient with thalassaemia. Thalassaemia is the name for an inherited blood disorder which affects the body’s ability to create red blood cells.
There are over 50 children that the Mae Tao Clinic treats the basic symptoms of. Many of these children need regular blood transfusions. More severe cases, like Wai Yan Kyaw, need more serious operations like splenectomies in order to survive. Funding children with thalassaemia carries with it many challenges. Children with severe forms of the disease require major surgery and then ongoing treatment. In Western settings, treating thalassaemia is made easier with the availablity of treatment and management plans as well as the existence of numerous support associations. Having access to health facilities and medical practioners is crucial. However, children from Burma who come to the Mae Tao Clinic for treatment come from far and wide. Many are displaced or come from rural villages in eastern Burma with little or no options for management, surgery or ongoing treatment. Providing funding for these children is difficult given the setting in which these children live (see Thai-Burma border and Fast Facts on Burma for more information).
BCMF is extremely happy with the successful result of Wai Yan Kyaw’s treatment. We will continue to monitor his progress and consider expanding funding to more children from Burma with this condition.